Bits and Bytes for Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Word of Mouth Marketing Group Formed

A new industry organization aimed at organizing and setting ethical standards for word of mouth marketing is taking shape. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association, or WOMMA, is the brainchild of Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing and customer satisfaction officer at Intelliseek, and Dave Balter, CEO of BzzAgent.

“Our goal is really to create an industry forum to figure out this space,” said Blackshaw.

Though word of mouth has always been considered an important marketing channel, only recently has the rise of Internet phenomena like discussion boards and blogs allowed the spread of product information to be measured.

So far, WOMMA’s activities are limited to soliciting the contact information of interested parties on a Web site at That data, and other expressions of interest, will help Blackshaw and Balter form a steering committee for the fledgling group.

Blackshaw expects establishing ethical standards and best practices to be high on the group’s priority list, due to the potential for deception inherent in word of mouth marketing. Unscrupulous marketers could, for example, post on discussion boards without revealing their identities as brand representatives.

Procter and Gamble’s Tremor to Recruit Moms

Tremor, the Procter and Gamble Internet marketing division that has so far focused solely on teens, will soon begin recruiting mothers to join its program. That’s according to Steve Knox, vice president of business development at Tremor, who spoke at the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco.

Knox said Tremor will begin recruiting 400,000 to 600,000 moms to help the company spread the word about its products via individuals it’s identified as “trend-spreaders.” The group is the consumer packaged goods company’s most important audience, given it sells everything from beauty products to laundry detergent. Currently, the Tremor division works with 300,000 teens.

Overture Changes Flagship Product Name

Pay-for-Performance Search, long the moniker for Overture’s flagship product, will soon be known as Precision Match. The company revealed the change in an email message to its advertisers.

The name change is designed to bring paid search’s brand name “in line with other Overture products.”

The company’s other product names include Content Match, its contextual advertising product, and Site Match, its paid inclusion program. The company also teased its upcoming local product to advertisers. The product, presumably to be called Local Match, saying it will put “businesses with a physical storefront into geographically appropriate search results based on the search term and user location that customers enter.”

Related reading